There are lots of new comic books out on the store shelves today. Lots.
All of the publishing companies, big and small, are pushing books out on the last before-the-holidays Wednesday even though there’s still one more Wednesday Run to go before the end of the year. That means that there are a lot of great comics to read while sitting by the fire and watching (hopefully) a little snow fall and whiten the ground, a cup of hot, chocolaty cocoa nearby.
That’s how I’m hoping to be spending some of my December days. It sounds like a bit of a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era, doesn’t it? A time when newspapers were sold at kiosks on street corners and movie theatres showed adventure films in weekly instalments! Well, that’s exactly what The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 is. A throwback. And you should be picking it up today!
Originally published within the pages of the Dark Horse Presents anthology (issues #11-#13), a publication previously recommended in this very column, The Black Beetle is a throwback to pulp characters like The Shadow and Doc Savage. The comic book seamlessly mixes the noir and superheroes genres, is beautiful to look at and, most importantly, it’s super fun to read!
Italian author/illustrator Francesco Francavilla is one of the most exciting talents working in the comic book art form right now. He’s been hard at work for a number of companies, providing cover and interior artwork for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite, IDW, Image and even Archie! Whew! Now that’s a busy man, definitely high in demand. And he loves his pulps.
Francavilla might be best known for his work on Zorro (Dynamite) with writer Matt Wagner and Black Panther (Marvel) with Davis Liss but it was his work on Detective Comics (DC) last year alongside writer Scott Snyder that brought the artist to my attention. His moody work in lines, shadows and colours added so much atmosphere to that particular series that it stands up as one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever read.
The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0, both written and illustrated by Francavilla, is a stand-alone story that introduces us to a World War II ear crime fighting character that will star in his own, new series, in January. Here, the Black Beetle battles Adolf Hitler’s fearsome Werwolf Corps, attempting to prevent them from retrieving a powerful piece of dark magic. “Murder in the Museum” is the pulpy tagline of the book and that should grab your attention if “Night Shift” or “A Mystery Novelette” doesn’t.
The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 is perfect, throwback reading that embraces the comic book medium and celebrates it here, in the twenty-first century. Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick this book up – Francavilla would never send you amiss!
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!